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Without Net Neutrality, Small Business Owner Asks: "Where Does it End?"

PHOTO:  Small business owners are concerned that the FCC's move toward fast lanes on the Internet would put them and others at a disadvantage.  Photo by Greg Stotelmyer.
PHOTO: Small business owners are concerned that the FCC's move toward fast lanes on the Internet would put them and others at a disadvantage. Photo by Greg Stotelmyer.
May 6, 2014

LOUISVILLE, Ky. – The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) is considering speed lanes on the Internet. The preferential treatment, which could be purchased from broadband providers at a higher price, has some Internet users concerned that the move away from net neutrality will put them at a disadvantage.

The possibility of large companies buying a competitive edge in cyberspace has small business owner Terena Bell wondering, "Where does it end?"

And, she adds, "It frightens me and scares me that our government is going to allow money to trump who gets a voice."

Bell is CEO of In Every Language, a Louisville-based company that translates languages for websites and social media.

Amalia Deloney, policy director for the Center for Media Justice, says everyone has a stake in protecting the Internet from becoming separate and unequal. She notes the outcry over proposed new rules currently being considered by the FCC.

"It just shows from rural, to native, to urban, to immigrant - that people care about this issue," she points out.

Deloney stresses fast lanes would threaten the ability of start-up companies, like Bell's, to thrive.

Speed lanes would have a negative impact on today's internationally minded free market economy, Bell adds, and she views the proposed change as unintentional discrimination. She says an information source that serves multiple languages and cultures would be forced to choose what it can pay for.

"If you're an American business, or you're an American nonprofit, and you can only afford to have information up in one language, it's a no-brainer what that language is going to be," Bell says.

That may be just enough of a price hike over normal localization costs to keep a company from translating its site, she says, which cuts off an additional revenue stream for that business – and potentially, her translation company as well.


Greg Stotelmyer , Public News Service - KY